You’re probably way ahead of me but I am all jazzed by my recent discovery of Simon Sinek. Simon is a bright, original, articulate, energetic, cultural anthropologist who’s written several books, (Leaders Eat Last, and Start With Why) about how to excel and find fulfillment. He has a lot to say about us and for us in these challenging times. In his Ten Rules for Success, #8 is Be Authentic. This statement really hit home for me because it’s literally why I started this blog.
When I’m playful, I’m being authentic. We all are. When I’m playful, I like being me. I feel safe and comfortable and true to my unique self. Being Authentic relates closely to #9–Find your Passion. For me, being authentic is a huge turn-on.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit it has taken me years, no decades, to say this out loud, let alone in print. For much of my life, I was a bit ashamed of my love of playfulness. After all, how could playfulness be one’s passion? The “mature” voice in my head scolded, “you SHOULD be doing something constructive.” Shouldn’t my passion be more serious, like saving the planet? Well, I’m here to tell you that you can save the planet AND find your inner playmate at the same time.
Being Playful is a Healing Exercise
Then I became a BodyMind therapist and I learned to pay attention to my body’s physical sensations and emotions. I soon discovered that when I’m playful, I feel great, energized, rejuvenatated. I realized that being playful is a healing experience, physically, emotionally and even spiritually. If I’m in pain, play makes it subside or disappear. If I’m anxious, I mellow out. If I’m sad or angry, the sharp edges become soft. If my creative juices stagnate, play gets things flowing again. The bonus to all the above is that when other people share in the playfulness, they receive all the same benefits.
Playfulness works fabulously as a shared experience. When I realized this, I started sprinkling playfulness around in my Pain and Trauma Therapy practice—when it was appropriate. I include clients’ dogs if they are quiet, well behaved and a resource for their human. (I would welcome cats too, but they make me sneeze.) Dogs are champions of Authenticity. They are truly themselves and teach humans by their example. They are always in gear for playing.
It’s a relief to be reminded that one isn’t required to cure cancer or bring world peace in order to have value. We only need to embrace our authentic inner playmate and share it with others. It’s the sharing that pays the highest dividends.